Exploring the Potential of Next-Generation Sequencing in Detection of Respiratory Viruses

S Prachayangprecha, Claudia Schapendonk, Marion Koopmans, Ab Osterhaus, Anita Schürch, Suzan Pas, Annemiek Baltissen - van der Eijk, Y Poovorawan, Bart Haagmans, Saskia Smits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient detection of human respiratory viral pathogens is crucial in the management of patients with acute respiratory tract infection. Sequence-independent amplification of nucleic acids combined with next-generation sequencing technology and bioinformatics analyses is a promising strategy for identifying pathogens in clinical and public health settings. It allows the characterization of hundreds of different known pathogens simultaneously and of novel pathogens that elude conventional testing. However, major hurdles for its routine use exist, including cost, turnaround time, and especially sensitivity of the assay, as the detection limit is dependent on viral load, host genetic material, and sequencing depth. To obtain insights into these aspects, we analyzed nasopharyngeal aspirates from a cohort of 81 Thai children with respiratory disease for the presence of respiratory viruses using a sequence-independent next-generation sequencing approach and routinely used diagnostic real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (real-time RT-PCR) assays. With respect to the detection of rhinovirus and human metapneumovirus, the next-generation sequencing approach was at least as sensitive as diagnostic real-time RT-PCR in this small cohort, whereas for bocavirus and enterovirus, next-generation sequencing was less sensitive than real-time RT-PCR. The advantage of the sequencing approach over real-time RT-PCR was the immediate availability of virus-typing information. Considering the development of platforms capable of generating more output data at declining costs, next-generation sequencing remains of interest for future virus diagnosis in clinical and public health settings and certainly as an additional tool when screening results from real-time RT-PCR are negative.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)3722-3730
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research programs

  • EMC MM-04-27-01

Cite this